Putting a Stop to Impunity for Human Rights Violations in Crimea
Despite the hopes raised by the Euromaidan movement and improvements in many facets of life and governance in Ukraine, the last two years have brought the occupation of Crimea, armed conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine, and ongoing abuses, corruption, and political unrest.
The “Russianization” of Crimea and its justice system; a severe crackdown on civil society and perceived political opponents; and the arbitrary application of the law in Crimea conspire to create what is in effect a lawless zone where the de facto authorities wield near absolute power.
Crimea, under the control of the Russian Federation, is subjected to a hybrid Russian legal system, where laws are flexible and local pro-government armed forces act with impunity. Restrictions on public demonstrations, civil society organizations, the media, and others are routine. This situation is exacerbated by concerted efforts to prevent Ukrainians and international human rights monitors, journalists, and others from traveling to Crimea. Governments, international organizations, and human rights organizations must take steps to bear witness to the ongoing tragedy in Crimea and do their best to put a stop to it.